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From Outrage to Action
Author: BobR    Date: 03/08/2018 14:02:26

There has been a sense that - for whatever reason - the school shooting in Florida was somehow a tipping point in the national debate on gun violence, gun culture, and the laws which govern purchasing and owning firearms. After the Sandy Hook massacre, I think America was too shocked, too grief-stricken to mobilize in a meaningful way (perhaps it was because of "gun-grabbing" President Obama in the White House). This time it's definitely different. The kids who died and those who survived are on the cusp of adulthood, and have been very eloquent in their descriptions of the horrors, and their desire to effect a change.

After some fits and starts, the FL legislature passed a bill yesterday that addresses some of the issues that lead to these types of school shootings. Some are complaining it is weak tea, but in a state known for its lax gun laws, the changes included are definitely a step in the right direction:

  • The bill would change the minimum age for all gun purchases to 21 from 18.

  • Prospective gun buyers would have to wait three days, or until a background check is completed, whichever is longer.

  • Ban bump stocks.

  • Arm school employees. It would create a $67 million “marshal” program under which certain employees — including counselors, coaches and librarians, but not full-time classroom teachers — could be trained and armed. (The program would be voluntary.)

  • Fund school security.

  • Expand mental health services and regulations.

What it doesn't change:
  • Ban assault weapons.

  • Suspend AR-15 sales.

  • Ban high-capacity magazines.

  • Strengthen background checks.

(The above lists are a summarization from the linked NY Times article)

They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and perhaps that is true here as well. If it's possible in FL, it's possible elsewhere, especially when Republican congresscritters are running scared in suburban districts:
Matt Borges, the former chairman of the Ohio GOP, lives in a more liberal area of suburban Columbus. "Oh God yes," he replied, when asked whether he was hearing more interest in addressing gun violence.

"It's getting suburban moms, suburban families really into this discussion in a way I have personally never seen before," he said, detailing fights at local schools over whether students could participate in gun control-related walk-outs. "These no longer seem like isolated incidents. Everyone looks around and says, 'What would we do if it happens here?' And [there is] just the sheer sense of panic."


"It's very clear that an overwhelming majority of Americans want reasonable gun restrictions, and I agree we do not want to in any way diminish Second Amendment rights for responsible gun owners, but we want to do more to make sure those who would be irresponsible gun owners, mass murderers, do not have access to the weapons," said Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican from a deeply competitive Miami-area district, in a recent conversation with reporters.

Others, like Rep. Brian Mast, also of South Florida, have pushed publicly for an assault weapons ban.

"This time," Curbelo added, "has been different already."

What's different is that the public is getting better educated. Our public safety has always superseded constitutional rights, and gun violence has been an ongoing example of a problem long overdue for resolution. The liberals in the cities have known this for decades. The moderate republican suburbanites are seeing their kids in the cross-hairs and finally coming on board. It appears the discussion won't be going away this time.


26 comments (Latest Comment: 03/09/2018 13:56:26 by Mondobubba)
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